Cigarette butts a major source of litter in Abu Dhabi residential areas

One park foreman estimates that his team are forced to pick up more than 150 discarded cigarette butts each and every day.

Cigarette butts are tossed on the ground at Baynunah Park in Abu Dhabi. Delores Johnson / The National
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ABU DHABI // Grassy areas near residential building are becoming littered with cigarette ends, say residents in the capital.

At Baynunah Park, off the Corniche near large apartment blocks such as Etihad Towers and Nation Towers, butts cover the ground.

Sonu Singh, the park foreman who oversees the daily clean-up, estimated that his team picked up more than 150 cigarette ends every day.

“It is a big problem,” said the 21-year-old Indian. “Many guys are coming here and they toss the cigarette on the floor.”

The problem, he believed, stemmed from residents living or working nearby.

“Many come to the park before, during and after work, from Adnoc company, from other companies,” he said. “They come here and they smoke.”

Mr Singh said a lack of recepticals for cigarette ash and ends was a contributing to the littering problem. “There is just one here in the park,” he said.

However, all too often it was down to laziness.

“People don’t care,” he said. “They just throw them on the ground.”

Rahul Pal, 19-year-old Indian, said he and a fellow worker spent hours cleaning the park.

“Every day we are picking up cigarettes.”

Butts are one of the most environmentally-damaging forms of litter.

According to, the pollution project, 99 per cent of the 360 billion cigarettes sold annually in the United States have cellulose acetate (plastic) filters; at least one-third of those were discarded into the environment. Washed into rivers, lakes and the ocean, eaten by birds, animals and fish, they are the most littered item in the world.

Filters are non-biodegradable, and while rays from the Sun will break them up, the toxic material never disappears.